As I’ve done over the past 2 years (see my 2020 and 2019 blogs), I used my 2021 Day of Reflection (a PRA annual benefit intended to encourage staff to take time to reflect on their lives with special emphasis on career planning, goal setting, or other job-related personal activities) to spend a day and night alone at a Getaway tiny cabin. Instead of cooking this year, I picked up “dinner” from The Cheese Traveler and drove to the cabin in Catskill.

In addition to some of the goal-setting materials I brought with me, I skimmed through much of Getaway founder Jon Staff’s book Getting Away: 75 Everyday Practices for Finding Balance in Our Always-On World, which was cleverly included in the cabin’s reading stack. The book is focused on “making simple changes in your day-to-day routine to strike the right balance between passion for your career and guilt-free relaxation” and I drafted a list of “to do” items based on many of the chapters (below, as well as status updates):

  1. Turn off most phone push notifications—done and barely noticed!
  2. Go outside for a few minutes each morning—I have nice deck space that should make this easy, but I’ve only remembered a few times since the cabin, so I’m going to set a daily reminder on my computer.
  3. Carry a book everywhere—I remembered Nicole writing about this intellectually well “wasted” time avoider a few years ago but it’s been in and out of practice for me, particularly during a pandemic where “everywhere” became mostly at home. But I’ll get there.
  4. Verbally announce the end of your workday (as you might in a group office), as much for the humor as creating a physical work-to-home transition—I love not having a commute on work-from-home days and have instituted a daily computer reminder (as of, um, today) to do this for my audience of one.
  5. Use a standing desk more—the sit/stand desk was one of the office perks I missed the most, so I purchased one upon moving back to New York. However, I often forget to raise it, so, another timer set!
  6. Create a soothing background playlist—This is particularly relevant as I’m often finding myself wearing both earbuds and noise-cancelling larger headphones to escape the kitchen renovation noise upstairs. This Sleep Sounds Spotify playlist is perfect (the Ocean Waves Crashing track is just close enough to white noise for me, and reminds me of living in Seattle).
  7. Go forest bathing—This was the strangest one to me! The book introduces forest bathing, which emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a form of ecotherapy. It’s not hiking (or swimming, necessarily), but simply being present in nature and engaging as many senses as possible. I LOVE this idea, and, though you certainly don’t need a guide or training to try it, I am searching for an aimless forest walk with someone certified through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.

The next day I ventured to the nearby Town of Woodstock for breakfast and people watching, then to the Emerson Resort and Spa to see the (apparently) world’s largest kaleidoscope, which was built inside a farm silo. It’s designed so you can lean against slanted backrests and gaze upward, but I was the only one in the room during the space-themed show, so I laid on the floor for a more immersive experience. I did a bit more sleepy-town exploration on the drive back, taking the longer scenic route, which I’m sure is covered in Jon Staff’s book somewhere!